An Extraordinary Cultural Journey to Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia

Overview

The images of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia are striking: gold-leafed pagodas glinting in the tropical sun, limestone hills rising from shimmering rice paddies, women carrying goods to market by yoke basket, shy young monks in saffron robes. We bring you deep into Indochine’s bountiful world, exploring Luang Prabang, a UNESCO-listed Laotian town of exquisite Buddhist temples, where we’ll boat down the tranquil Mekong and visit hill tribe villages. In Vietnam, we head into Hanoi’s photogenic Old Quarter by bike rickshaw, cruise beguiling Bai Tu Long Bay aboard our traditional junk, explore the tiny 17th century seaside port of Hoi An, with its lantern-lit lanes, and marvel at the palaces of the Nguyen emperors in Hue. Our grand finale is Angkor, Cambodia’s surreal “lost city” rising out of an enveloping forest, where one morning finds us watching a golden sunrise over the soaring stone towers of Angkor Wat.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is a charming, ancient town set along a bend in the Mekong. We visit some of its gilded 15th century pagodas, take a serene boat ride along the Mekong, walk up to fascinating Buddhist cave-grottos, and meet traditional Hmong and Khamu hill tribe people in nearby villages. Exploring Luang Prabang’s lively night market, with its hill tribe people and food stalls, we’ll find an array of traditional handicrafts, from embroidery to paintings.

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Days 5-11
Hanoi, Vietnam / Bai Tu Long Bay / Hoi An / Hue / Saigon

We take in Hanoi’s famous Old Quarter the best way: by bicycle rickshaw and on foot, with a stop for a delicious lunch of cha ca, Hanoi’s famous fish and noodle dish, and a visit the studio of a local artist. In Bai Tu Long Bay, with its karst mountains jutting from the sea, we board our own traditional boat for a spectacular overnight cruise. We stroll the narrow streets of ancient Hoi An, a beautiful little riverside town, and in Hue, seat of the 19th century Nguyen emperors, we explore the royal citadel. Our last stop is bustling Saigon, with its French colonial architecture and fascinating museums.

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Days 12-16
Siem Reap / Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

The 12th century temples of Angkor, scattered across a vast tropical landscape, are a lasting monument to the glory of a bygone Khmer civilization and one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Groundbreaking discoveries are still being made here by teams of archaeologists. In this World Heritage Site, we visit majestic, ornate temples and marvel at the detailed carving and colossal sculpted Buddha images. Depart Siem Reap on Day 16

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Highlights

Highlights

Explore Luang Prabang’s lively markets and ethereal temples, meet hill tribe people in their villages
Discover Hanoi’s famous Old Quarter by bicycle rickshaw and on foot
Savor the beautiful karst landscapes of Bai Tu Long Bay on an overnight cruise
Watch a golden sunrise over the soaring towers of Angkor Wat

Details

Length: 16 days
Cost From: $6495  
Arrive: Luang Prabang, Laos
Depart: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Lodging: 14 nights deluxe hotels, 1 night aboard private traditional junk
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Cultural explorations and walking tours